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Horse Racing on Atlantic City Beach: A Step Closer to Reality?

By Derek Harper

Atlantic City took a step closer Monday to having a special horse race on its beach, when the state Assembly, responding to a conditional veto by the governor, struck down a provision to also allow steeplechase racing around the state.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where a Thursday vote is likely. State Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, said he thought it would likely pass.

Assemblyman John Amodeo, R-Atlantic, a sponsor who has promoted the idea of the American Palio in Atlantic City, said a final agreement is all but settled.

The race is based on the Palio di Siena, an intense annual event in Siena, Italy, that dates from the Middle Ages. There, jockeys representing the city’s contradas, or wards, ride horses in a tight dirt semicircle around the municipal square. Spills are common.

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